Eyebeam, the art and technology-focused collective founded by the well-bearded John S. Johnson, turns 10 this year, and the motley crew threw a party in its 18,000-square-foot facility to celebrate. Upon arrival, guests were given a device called an nTag. Putting yours near another partygoers caused them to wirelessly connect, at which point you would be “introduced.” Each guest was worth a point value, which changed based on his or her “fame.” At night’s end, the person with the most points won a prize. Our score: 36. Pretty pathetic, actually. (In our defense, we think our nTag was broken.)
The space also featured work done by current and past Eyebeamers. A track and field arcade game responded to your stress level. The calmer you were, the faster your sprinter ran. Marie Sester built a “Vanity Mirror” that follows motion. Cory Archangel, whose work has shown at MOMA and the Whitney among other museums, brought a hacked Nintendo game titled “I Shot Andy Warhol.” The goal is to, well, shoot Andy Warhol, while avoiding Colonel Sanders, Flava Flav, and the other ’80s icons Archangel included. We played once and blew away the previous high score, making up for our inability to nTag.
The Daily Show‘s Asif Mandvi hosted the dinner portion of the evening, doing is best Colbert impression and joking, “[The Daily Show producers] fly me around with a green screen, which I never understood.” Executive director Amanda McDonald Crowley, sporting some amazing silver boots, spoke about the collective and where it’s headed. Johnson told us “freedom is slowly being eroded to bumper sticker outrage and flag waving. Arianna Huffinton, who along with Lawrence Lessig received an award for dedication to free media, free speech, and the creativity it promotes, was forced to appear via video (how 1990s) because her doctors wouldn’t let her fly due to a detached retina (how gross).
Look at all the nTags
Winning the stress race
Some people were wearing wigs. It was unclear why.
Shooting Andy Warhol
Everyone’s movements were tracked on this screen. Part Big Brother, part awesome.